Fuel for ‘Bharat’ row as Modi now called ‘prime minister of Bharat’
Controversy started over a claim that the G20 dinner event sent by Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the president of India, had ‘President of Bharat’ instead of ‘President of India’ written over it.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi addresses a booth-level workers’ event in Bhopal in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. (ANI Photo)
INDIAN politics witnessed on Tuesday (5) a new controversy erupting even before the one about mentioning the Indian president as the ‘president of Bharat’ died down after Sambit Patra, spokesperson of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), shared a picture on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, that referred to prime minister Narendra Modi as the ‘prime minister of Bharat’.
The picture pertained to Modi’s participation in the 20th ASEAN-India Summit and 18th East Asia Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Thursday (7) which the Indian leader is set to attend ahead of the G20 summit in New Delhi this weekend.
Patra’s post comes in the wake of the speculation around the Modi government bringing out a legislation in a special session of the parliament this month to rename India as Bharat.
Earlier on Tuesday, row started over a claim that the G20 dinner event sent by Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the president of India, mentioned ‘President of Bharat’ instead of ‘President of India’ written over it.
The ruling BJP slammed the opposition accusing them of being anti-national.
“Who is opposing the name Bharat? Now have you even started feeling the pain at the mention of Bharat? These are the same people who put party before the nation and are stuck in the quicksand of politics. They also have attempted to malign the country from foreign soil”, sports minister Anurag Thakur was quoted by PTI as saying.
Himanta Biswa Sarma, chief minister of the northeastern state of Assam, accused the opposition of trying to eliminate the Hindu religion and name Bharat.
“Bharat is as old as the sun and the moon. As long as the sun and the moon are in existence, Bharat will continue be in existence… Every state and its people want that the country be know as Bharat,” he said.
Former secretary general of Lok Sabha or the Lower House of the Indian parliament and constitutional expert PDT Achary told the Press Trust of India that any change in name from Republic of India will require several amendments.
“They will have to amend the Constitution. Article 1 (will have to be changed) and then there will be resultant changes in all the other articles,” he added.
“Wherever India is used will have to go. You can have only one name for the country. There cannot be two names interchangeable, that will create a lot of confusion not only in India but outside also,” he told PTI.